Monday, February 4, 2013
Oh, I know, other people's dreams really are dull, and mine are no exception. Even so, I'm going to beg your indulgence and hope that you gentle readers might help me parse out one I've been having lately.
Maybe it's just a delayed reaction to reading her obituaries last summer, or maybe it's just the effects of reading too many show-biz bios, but she keeps popping up. Usually, I'm in some random situation from everyday life, albeit one that has, for no good reason, become peppered with the great names of cinema. For example, in one I was a waiter (which I was, once upon a time, by the bye, and a damn good one), at a smart urban joint waiting on a very chummy Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (BD circa 1943 and JC 'round about 1970, it seemed, but it didn't faze me at the time) having a girls' lunch out. As I hand them the check, I say, "Boy, that Celeste Holm sure was a bitch, wasn't she?" Surprised expressions all around, a couple of raised eyebrows of agreement, and curtain.
In another, I am playing bridge with Gloria Swanson and a couple of Waxworks, and apropos of nothing, during a lull in a conversation about real estate (the consensus: sell), ask the same question. Miss Swanson looks disapproving, as if she believing that if someone were to make such observations, it should be she.
Then there's the one where I'm rehearsing a dance number with Charlotte Greenwood and Kay Thompson (and there's an unpicturesque trio - with me standing between them, we'd look like the number 101) and I stop the piano player to demand of my partners, "Tell the truth - was Celeste Holm the biggest bitch you ever worked with or was she not?"
Finally, and most chillingly, there's the one in which I don't remember of whom I ask the fateful question (Margaret Rutherford? Theda Bara? Nancy Kulp?), but after doing so I turn and realize that standing behind me is... Celeste Holm. And in that moment I know, in a flash of shock and fear, that "bitch" doesn't begin to describe it.
Sometimes I think I need to drink more before bedtime. What do you think?